Ruffian On Drugs


25th May 2003

We've been dosing Ruffian with antibiotics after the recent trips to the vet for her wobbly legs and mismatched eyes. She's got Horner's Syndrome, where something, most probably an ear infection, has been pressing on her optic nerve and affecting her eyesight. See the previous page about this.

Her pupils are the strangest part of it. As you can see, they are mismatched in size. This must make her vision a little blurry. Ignore her whisker across the eye. Her whiskers grow in strange directions. [Ruffian's mismatched

Last time I had to give her antibiotics, she was docile and happy to accept the drug. I could pick her up and cradle her on one arm, pop the syringe in her mouth and squirt slowly and she would drink it down. Not this time. She fought me every step of the way. She writhed and scratched and struggled. I ended up with major scratches across my belly and chest, and really badly slashed wrists.

So it took two of us to administer the antibiotics. Anne would hold her down and I would try and squirt it in. Anne couldn't hold her, so she would wrap her in a towel and then I would try and squirt it in. Ruffian developed the spit technique. I would squirt it in her mouth and she would spit it out and spray it everywhere. So Anne would shove her finger in Ruffian's mouth until she gagged and swallowed. That lasted a week and we were all getting upset about it. So I went back to a one-person drug pattern. I picked Ruffian up, propped her up on the couch and gently held her front paws and dribbled the drug in. For a few days she accepted this, but then she started struggling a little bit. So now we have the final technique. I prop her on the couch and swaddle her as you can see. Then I take the syringe and gentle rub it against her side mouth flaps and dribble the drug in. The rubbing seems to trigger the swallow. So she swallows it and doesn't spray. Some days she's more resistant than others, but I persist, just gently rubbing the syringe against her flaps. She's had the antibiotic for 5 weeks already, and there's another week or two to go. Then we wait and see if the infection comes back, and if her eye will return to normal. We should know by the end of the year.

[Ruffian wrapped in
  swaddling clothes]

But all is going well. She takes the drug, her back legs are not so wobbly, and she doesn't fall over and feebly wave her legs in the when she tries to jump down. Nothing affects her appetite. Just her pupils don't seem to coming back to match size. I hope that does happen. The vet thinks it could take maybe 6 months, but then her eyes may not ever get back to normal. That doesn't matter. As long as she stays in good health, and continues to enjoy life, we will keep her going and shove drugs and money into her. Here she is, enjoying herself lying in the sun, with those perky ears up listening to the birdcall outside. And her fur is starting to grow out again.

[Ruffian facing away]

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